Board Committees

Governance and Leadership

Community Relations & Communications

  • Chairs: Susan Punzo
  • Mandate
  • March 2, 2015 Update                                                                                                                                                                           

Enrollment and Marketing

Finance & Foundation

Fundraising

  • Chair: Moe Dostmohamed
  • Mandate: to be posted

Board Committee Update

September 30, 2015

Dear Parents,

You are cordially invited to be part of creating a new culture of parent involvement at Toronto Waldorf School.

The aim of this all-parents’ meeting on Wednesday, October 21 will be...

  • To hear brief reports from committees in which parents are currently involved, including finance, marketing, enrolment, parent connections, organizational structure & leadership and fundraising.
  • To share ideas regarding parent involved initiatives that could benefit TWS.
  • To gather suggestions regarding the best way to form a parent coordinating body that guides and supports the various parent initiatives and builds connection between parents, faculty, board and administration.

Schedule:

6:00 - 7:00 pm - Social hour - tea, coffee and light refreshments
7:00 - 8:30 pm - Meeting

Location: Music Room

This meeting is jointly sponsored by the Community Relations Committee and the Parent Connections group and will be facilitated by: Committee members, faculty, administration and board. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

The Community Relations and Communication Board Committee

Wilhelm Bleek, Ena Bruce, Elisabeth Chomko, Heather Church, Debora Coles, Sybille Hahn, Zheni Nasi, Helga Rudolf and Patricia Steger

April 9, 2015

Dear TWS Community,

As we look out to the increasing signs of spring, we are again reminded of the many forces and energies at work behind the scenes in nature that only become evident long after the work has begun. Consistent with that image, there has been much work underway since the AGM meeting in January and the board would like to take this opportunity to update you on the efforts of the various committees over the past months. More detailed updates are available by clicking the update links above from each committee.

We hope you will be encouraged by the work undertaken by so many in our community to transition TWS into a vibrant and engaging future. If, after reading the more detailed updates you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the individual committee chairs directly.

We thank you for your continued interest in, and support of the school; and look forward to meeting again in person in May to share additional information about the upcoming school year.

Human Resources

The HR working group has been conducting a thorough review of all current HR policies and procedures, looking at best practices in this area, and will be bringing to the Board of Directors in May 2015 a comprehensive HR strategy to ensure that TWS is not only a great place to go to school, but a great place to work.

Current status:

  • Reviews and updates include hiring and termination practices, performance management, professional development, conflict and issue management, updates to the employee handbook to be ratified and completed by the start of new academic year.
  • Pay Equity will be completed by Q1, 2016 which requires a compliance audit and a review of the past 7 year’s records.

Organizational Leadership

The Organizational Leadership working group was tasked with a review of the leadership and management structures of the school. 

Current Status:

  • On March 30 this group reviewed a proposal put forward by the full faculty coming out of the work that they have been doing.  The proposed leadership model is based on a highly collaborative team approach, leveraging the current Interim Leadership Team (ILT) model.  The committee is not recommending hiring an administrative director or a head of school at this time.
  • On April 1 the Organizational Leadership working group presented a preliminary high-level overview of the model’s structure to the board. While the basic model has been agreed upon by the groups involved, the functional details of the working model are still being finalized to be presented in the next board meeting in May for approval.

Finance committee

The Finance committee has been working very hard over the winter to get a very thorough and in-depth understanding of the schools finances through a detailed cost analysis of the different areas of the school (Early Childhood, Lower School and High School) as well as different programs (after school care, sports, summer camp, etc.).

This has included looking at all of our expenses line by line, researching practices at other schools including other Waldorf schools, conversations with certain Chairs around staffing as it pertains to revenues and expenses as well as creating models for stress case scenarios. Efforts are currently focused on 4 areas: 

1) Revenues through adjusting Tuition and other fees resulting in changes for the 2015/16 year;

2) Modifying our tuition assistance practices and amounts allocated for the 2015/16 year

3) Review of accounts receivable, including revised policies and practices on arrears/outstanding accounts now

4) Review of all expenditures, including a line by line review of our general ledger, to find savings now and for 2015/16

The Finance Committee is very mindful of the potential impacts of enrolment, knowing that a return to financial health involves a mixture of expenditure cuts and increases in enrolment. There will be a more detailed presentation of financial data at a whole community meeting, planned for late May.

Fundraising

After taking a pause for the last 12 to 18 months, fundraising efforts are in process of being renewed, building on the efforts of the previous development committee initiatives. This has started with looking at specific events. There will be a golf tournament later this spring on May 23rd, the proceeds of which will go towards replacing the lower gymnasium floor; there is already $16,000 set aside for this project from the 2013 golf tournament. The committee is considering a larger event for the 2015/16 school year, plus commencing planning for the 50th anniversary in 2018. There is also preparatory work to roll out an annual giving campaign in the fall.

Board Governance

The committee has spent the previous period investigating and reviewing other comparable schools in search of common governance best practices. Through this work they are identifying potential bylaw changes at TWS. These proposals will be presented for consideration once the drafts are finalized.

Marketing & Enrolment

The marketing and enrolment committee is moving ahead with two distinct working groups. The Enrolment group has been focusing on two areas: converting leads on potential families to enrolments, and supporting the re-enrolment process. They are making particular note of how people became aware of TWS, and which critical factors were most important in their ultimate decision. This information will be very helpful in future outreach planning. The re-enrolment results are being reviewed on a weekly basis in conjunction with the business office. Undecided families in need of additional information before committing are aligned with the appropriate support (finance, faculty, community life) for timely follow-up.  

The Marketing group has been gathering information on past marketing efforts, current advertising and outreach, and materials to support same. Data has been collected on geographical distribution of current parents and their demographics in comparison to the surrounding catchment area. There has been a review of several past marketing analysis reports. The group continues to focus on short-term efforts to boost immediate enrolment for September 2015 such as participation in local family events; while also beginning the planning process for future growth, as the key marketing “season” begins in the fall. A critical step in this process was an examination of how we clearly and authentically communicate the Waldorf education message in all of our marketing efforts.

Community Relations

Over the past several months the Community Relations group has been meeting regularly to reflect on and share information about what is necessary to create and sustain vibrant and robust community relations. As part of this work they have explored the various components of the TWS community, recognized the importance of the ability to coordinate and align contributions and efforts, and the power of a culture of “joyful volunteerism”.

For inspiration they have researched best practices from other schools and organizations and also reviewed options from TWS’ history and considered them against our current needs and strengths. In parallel with this continuing work, the group launched a “Social Sign-up” event the first week of April to create the space for work to begin immediately in three areas: Community Projects, Fundraising, and Parent Connections. Many exciting ideas were discussed and captured and a list of those interesting in beginning the specific work was created. The Community Relations group will work with and support each of those working groups as they begin to meet in the coming weeks.

Yours sincerely,

Mohamed Dostmohamed, Board Chair, on behalf of the TWS Board of Directors

 

An Update from Community Relations & Communications

May 28, 2015

In the most recent meeting on Thursday, May 28, the main topic of discussion was parent work. The Parent Connection group had their first formal meeting on May 19, but prior to that, they had several conversations with a number of people as well as email exchanges. The group has discussed what they see as their mandate: it involves brainstorming and strategizing, as well as supporting specific programs, such as new parent welcomes, educational workshops, conferences, etc. Please contact Zheni Nasi if you would like to be involved in this important work.

April 23, 2015

The Community Relations and Communications Board Committee met on Thursday, April 23, 7:00pm - 8:45pm to follow up various workgroups/initiatives. We discussed plans for:

  • the garden relocation;
  • parent connections work, which is still in its early stages;
  • fundraising - the Golf Tournament will be on May 23;
  • there will most likely be an annual giving campaign in the fall; and
  • the lovely community rug display at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.

We also continued our discussion regarding the need for greater transparency and communication in the community

March 2, 2015

The board task group on community relations has so far had four fruitful meetings in 2015 (January 8, 15 and February 5, 19). It is a fairly large committee, but this has meant that there has been a good cross section of various members of the community, both current and reaching back over the years.

Members of the group are: Patricia Steger, Deb Coles, (co-leaders) Wilhelm Bleek, Ena Bruce, Elisabeth Chomko, Heather Church, Warren Cohen, Melissa Ghorashy, Sybille Hahn, Zheni Nasi, Jennifer Pearson, Helga Rudolph, Brenda Tabe, Christine Tansley and Angelika Warner.

The first meeting, we spent simply sitting together and talking. We shared what our vision was for the school and how we could see our involvement in TWS. One powerful idea was that it takes a community to raise a child.

Another thought expressed was that we would like to have a structure in place so that when community members have an idea, they know where it can be taken in order for the idea to be acted upon and coordinated with other initiatives.

At our second meeting, we looked at the various communities within our larger community and thought of what the needs are of each sub-group and what that group can contribute to the whole community. One inspiring thought was that our community would gain in health if we were to rebuild a culture of joyful volunteerism.

At the third meeting, we discussed what were some barriers and constraints to us moving ahead as a community. We addressed the question: what is actually community? One thought is that community involves communication, including not talking negatively about each other but speaking directly and with humility to the person with whom we have an issue. We talked about the importance of having an engaged parent body and we decided that as homework for our next meeting we would research other Waldorf schools to get ideas for models of good structures to facilitate parent contributions to the community.

At the most recent meeting, we talked about the ideas from other schools that resonated with us. We agreed that parents want a nice social atmosphere and that every person's contribution is of utmost importance to the school. Parents want to feel that their work makes a difference. 

At this time, the faculty is focussing on increasing enrolment for the fall. Interested parents could certainly be of tremendous help in this venture. Some other examples of areas where parents' help would be invaluable: parent education, parent mentorship and fundraising.

I think it is fair to say that all of us on the community task force have felt inspired by the warmth and energy we have experienced in our meetings and we look forward to great community work ahead.

A smaller group of people from the community task force has volunteered to draft a proposal for what the Mandate of such a Parent Association would be. The board and the faculty will consider the plans and we hope that in just a few weeks our board community group will have morphed into a hands-on group or series of smaller groups which will set to work on practical tasks, bringing more interested people on board.

With gratitude for the work,

Elisabeth Chomko 
(for the community board task force)

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